Aussie Cars – 1970 to 1980
The 1970’s started with Holden and Ford still at the top of the ladder, closely followed by Chrysler. These 6 cylinder cars and the newer V8 versions were quickly modernised into 2 door coupe versions. Both the Holden Monaro and the Chrysler Charger (the slogan “hey charger” was a clever selling point and heard throughout Australia) introduced these.
They were closely followed by the Ford Falcon 2 coupe; these sportier cars were often marketed at a lower price and therefore were more popular. These ranges of sporty cars were topped by Holden releasing the GTR XU1 LC Torana, featuring an aerodynamic spoiler. This smaller car was a racing rival to the long standing Falcon and proved a great competitor being more fuel and tyre efficient.
With car safety advancing into the 70’s, rear seat belts began to be fitted as standard in all Holden Cars. Comfort was also thought of in the designs of cars in the 70’s with heaters being fitted as standard by the end of 1971.
The Holden HQ was the biggest design shake up since the original 1940’s release of the FX. As part of the HQ range, Holden expanded into Light Truck Cabs – releasing the one tonner. Not only was the HQ the biggest change since the original Holden, it had a massive 18 model variants, the biggest range in the history of the Holden. GM-H not only put money into redesigning their range of cars they opened numerous parts plants and continued to export cars.
The Bathurst 1000 has always been a great battle between Holden and Ford, and the 70’s was no different. The car of choice from Ford was the Ford Falcon, and Holden ended the 1960’s with the Holden HT Monaro. However, in 1970 Holden introduced the new smaller Torana GTR XU-1 and pitched it against the power of the V8 car Ford Falcon.
The smaller Holden was meant to be more fuel efficient and save on tyre replacements with less pit stops however, the power of the Falcon won in the 1970 race. The 1971 race saw a repeat of the previous year with the upgraded Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase III winning over the Holden Torana. The next year would be the start of 9 wins for Peter Brock, starting with the Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1. The Torana won 4 more times that year 75’, 76’, 78’, 79’ with 73’, 74’ and 77’ victories claimed by the Ford Falcon.
Japanese cars tried to break into the market during the oil crisis of 73’ with the Datsun 240Z. This was because consumers were hit hard by the crisis and the Italian and British cars were focusing on 4 cylinders whilst Holden and Ford were still producing 6 cylinders and V8’s. The Datsun filled the gap in the market.
By 1975 Holden had released the small 4 cylinder Australian assembled car, the TX Gemini, and became vastly popular selling nearly 43,000 cars.
By the end of 1977, 3 more Holden’s came out of the factory, The TC Gemini, The A9X LX Torana and the HZ Holden. 1978 was the 25th year that Holden held the throne at the top of the Australia car sales market. They then released 4 more models including the TD Gemini and the UC Sunbird SLE.
The release of the VB Commodore saw a change in direction for Holden cars and the following year the VB Commodore Station Wagon was introduced. By the end of 1979, the Commodore became the top selling car in Australia with a combined sale between the sedan and station wagons of nearly 84,000.